Tobacco Industry Gave More Than $1.1 Million in Federal Political Contributions So Far in the 2005-2006 Election Cycle

Oct. 3 2005

Washington, DC — The tobacco industry made more than $1.1 million in political contributions to federal candidates, political parties and political committees so far in the 2005-2006 election cycle, according to an annual report issued by the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund and Common Cause.

Since 1997, the tobacco industry has contributed more than $30.9 million, including $16.8 million in soft money and more than $14.1 million in political action committee (PAC) contributions. Since 1999, the tobacco companies have spent more than $129 million on lobbying the U.S. Congress. The tobacco industry spent more than $23 million to lobby Congress in 2004 (the most recent data available). That amounts to more than $173,000 spent on lobbying for every day Congress was in session.

"The tobacco companies are continuing their decades-long effort to purchase political influence with campaign contributions," said William V. Corr, Executive Director of the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund. "Members of Congress are still taking millions of dollars from the tobacco industry and failing to take action to protect kids, despite the fact that the tobacco industry spends $15.15 billion a year marketing their products, nearly one quarter of high school kids smoke and more than 400,000 Americans die every year from tobacco use."

The report details tobacco industry contributions and lobbying expenditures so far during the 2005-2006 election cycle:

  • Tobacco company PACs donated more than $623,000 directly to federal candidates, with 78 percent ($487,878) of the total donations going to Republican candidates and 22 percent ($135,500) going to Democratic candidates.
  • Tobacco PACs have donated more than $492,000 to non-candidate committees, including Democratic and Republican party committees and leadership PACs established by individual members of Congress. Of the total, $366,128 (74 percent) went to the Republicans, $68,000 (14 percent) to the Democrats and $58,500 (12 percent) to non-party committees.
  • The report's appendix details tobacco contributions to every current Member of Congress since January 1, 1997, and current challengers. To look up contributions to a specific Member, go to: http://tobaccofreeaction.org/contributions/

"By spending over $20 million a year on lobbying and spreading millions of dollars to hundreds of legislators over the past decade, Big Tobacco has become one of the most well-oiled machines in Washington DC," said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. "With over $600,000 already donated to candidates this year, the tobacco interests are hoping to continue to see federal policies that favor their bottom line over the public's health."

Campaign Contributions by Tobacco Interests is the latest issue of an annual report on the tobacco industry's political influence. The report is issued by the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund and Common Cause and all the contributions cited in this reported are based on data released by the FEC as of August 2, 2005.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 Americans every year and causing more than $167 billion in health care costs and lost productivity. Nearly 90 percent of smokers begin at or before age 18.

This annual report's development and distribution are meant to provide information and analysis on the tobacco industry's extraordinary political influence, especially in regard to the U.S. Congress and the federal government. Toward this end, this report offers a range of information, including data on direct and indirect tobacco industry contributions to Members of Congress, other elected officials and other candidates for elected office. Nothing in this report is meant in any way to endorse, support or oppose the election of any candidate or to indicate any support or opposition to any candidate's election by any of the sponsoring organizations.

(More information on tobacco industry political contributions can be found at http://tobaccofreeaction.org/contributions/)

 

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